FC Bayern Munich has dominated the Bundesliga over the last 20 years, winning the league title the previous eight years in a row and 30 times within the league’s 117-year history. Which, if you do the math, means they won 25 per cent of the total Bundesliga titles. It is crazy to think that one team can dominate a league, but Bayern Munich made it happen. The club has had numerous legends who played under them, making it difficult to choose the all-time starting XI. As there are several greats to choose from Manuel Neuer to Franz Beckenbauer, here is my FC Bayern Munich all-time starting XI.
GK: Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer played 407 matches with Bayern Munich, he recorded 202 clean sheets, which is a 49 per cent clean sheet percentage. From his early days at Bayern Munich to now, Manuel Neuer has won eight Bundesliga titles, two UEFA champions league titles, five German super cup titles, and five DFB-Pokal titles. His status as one of the best keepers in Germany and across Europe remains untouched. Plus, at only 34 years of age, he still has a lot left in him and will continue his dominance for many years to come.
RB: Phillip Lahm
Phillip Lahm was one of the most impactful players at the right-back position for Bayern Munich. Lahm, who appeared in 517 matches for Bayern Munich, potted 16 goals and 70 assists in going alongside. However, his defensive ability is what’s important here. Lahm has a remarkable ability to adapt to different situations and rarely turns over the ball when in possession. Lahm helped Bayern Munich win multiple Bundesliga titles, DFP-Pokal and a UEFA Champions League title in 2013. Lahm, who won footballer of the year in 2017, will go down as one of the all-time greats to play at right-back for Bayern Munich.
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CB: Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer is the most influential player to suit up for Bayern Munich, as he changed the game of football by pretty much creating a new position called the sweeper. Which was the last line of defence, after the ball had gotten past the defensive backs, heading towards the net. Due to Beckenbauer’s elegant style of play, leadership and dominance on the pitch, many called Beckenbauer “Der Kaiser” (The Emperor). Others have dubbed him the greatest defender of all time. Beckenbauer was able to be a strong leader on the pitch for Bayern Munich and help keep balls away from the keeper, aka the sweeper’s primary job. During his time at Bayern Munich, Beckenbauer netted 58 goals and 73 assists in 546 appearances. Over his career, he racked up quite the accolades. Winning footballer of the year four times, the Ballon D’or twice, and won four Bundesliga titles and many other titles as well. Beckenbauer is the best defender ever to put on a Bayern Munich jersey.
CB: Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck
Scharzenback spent all 16 years of his football career at Bayern Munich and few athletes spend that much time with one club. During his time at Bayern Munich, Scharzenbeck was a key component alongside Franz Beckenbauer as the one-two duo that helped Bayern win multiple titles. A nickname that was popular with Schwarzenbeck was “The Kaiser’s Bodyguard.” A title that he wore proudly during his illustrious time at Bayern Munich. A career that saw him make 549 appearances, netting 30 goals and 10 assists to go alongside. As well as winning five Bundesliga titles, three German Cups and three European champion clubs’ trophies. He will be remembered forever in the history books with both Bayern Munich and as a German national team player.
LB: David Alaba
David Alaba has made 349 appearances, netting 30 goals and 46 assists to go alongside. A critical reason why Alaba has been so crucial with Bayern winning matches is that his ability to create set pieces off free kicks has helped the team win several games. Alaba has averaged less than one foul per 90 minutes over his career in the Bundesliga and has been a part of at least one Bayern goal every four matches that are played. Alaba has won footballer of the year seven times. He is a nine-time Bundesliga Champion; the list could go on. Regardless, Alaba is the best there is at the left-back position for Bayern Munich.
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CB: Klaus Augenthaler
Klaus Augenthaler joined the Bayern Munich youth team in 1975 from FC Vilshofen. He played generally in the position of central defender, and in the latter part of his career, as a sweeper. His nickname Augo is derived from his surname but means the eye in Germany. It was because of his ability to read the action and control a match from the back. As one of their greatest XI of all time, he played 404 games in Bayern’s first team for fifteen years until 1991. He has a record of seven championships and three German cup triumphs and a 1990 world cup winners’ medal. From 1984 until the end of his career, he was the captain of Bayern. The kicker, mentioned his name in the Bundesliga team of the season two times. He scored 52 goals and the most famous of those was in August 1989, when he changed the game against Eintracht Frankfurt to 1-0 with his goal. He beat the Frankfurt goalkeeper Uli Stein with a shot from the halfway line, earning the goal of the season and goal of the decade awards. He was truly one of the best Bayern Munich players of all time.
CM: Paul Breitner
Paul Breitner was one the best players in both left-back and midfield roles for the Bavarians. Breitner was a key player for Bayern in the '70s and they were one of the most powerful and successful line-ups in football history. Breitner had 337 caps for Bayern during two spells. The first spell started in 1970 and he mainly played as a left-back. Breitner won 6 major titles in his first spell including three consecutive Bundesliga titles, one DFB Pokal, and more importantly European Cup in 1973-74. After that, he left Bayern and had a very successful spell in Real Madrid where they won two La Liga championships and a Copa del Rey.
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CM: Lothar Matthaus
As one of the greatest central midfielders of all time, Lothar Matthaus is a member of the FIFA 100 list of the greatest living football players chosen by Pelé. Diego Maradona said of Matthaus, "he is the best rival I've ever had. I guess that's enough to define him", in his book. The German legend played for many teams during his career but he spent more than half his career at Bayern Munich. Matthaus had a very flexible playing style which helped the team to use him as a multi-purpose midfielder. He was a master in perceptive passing, positional sense, well-timed tackling, as well as powerful shooting. He won many team titles with Bayern including notable seven Bundesliga titles, three DFB Pokals, and a UEFA Cup. Between the two spells of playing for Bayern, Matthaus spent four seasons in Italian Serie A with Inter which was also a great success for him and Inter. In 1990 he managed to win the World Cup with West Germany just one year after the Serie A championship that led him to win the Ballon d'Or 1990. He is one of the most successful players in football history.
CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, due to his tactical awareness, positioning, passing, and tackling ability. In 500 games that he played for Bayern's first team, he scored 68 goals in all the competitions, winning eight Bundesliga titles, including three in a row between 2012 to 2014, seven DFB-Pokals, a FIFA club world cup, the 2010 DFL super cup and a champions league in 2012. In 2010, Schweinsteiger’s name was on the list of FIFA world cup dream teams and he won a shared FIFA world cup most assists with Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Kaka, and Dirk Kuyt. Schweinsteiger received the 2013 German player of the year due to his performance for Bayern Munich. He was a fan favourite at Bayern and was usually called Fußballgott (football god) by Bayern's fans.
Forward: Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller has been deployed in a variety of attacking roles like attacking midfielder, second striker, centre forward, and on either wing. He is considered one of the best forwards in Bayern history. Despite his lack of physical strength, he has been praised for his technique, awareness, tactical intelligence, and positioning. He has played in 566 games for Bayern and scored 212 games in all the competitions. With the club, he has won nine Bundesliga titles, which includes eight seasons in a row from 2012 till now, six DFB-Pokals, six DFL super cups, the 2013 FIFA club world cup, and two champions league titles in 2012 and 2019. In the 2010 world cup, he won FIFA’s golden boot, best young player, and world soccer young player of the year awards. Also, in 2014, he won FIFA’s silver boot, silver ball, all-star team, and the dream team cups.
Forward: Gerd Muller
As one of the best Bayern Munich XI of all time, Gerd Muller is regarded one of the best players and goal scorers of all time. He joined Bayern Munich in 1964, where he played alongside Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. Until 1979, when he departed from the club, he played 605 games and scored 563 goals in all competitions. For seven years, he got the Bundesliga top scorer title and won two European golden shoe awards. On the international level, averaging more than a goal a game with West Germany, Müller is now 19th on the list of all-time international goal scorers, despite playing fewer matches than every other player in the top 48. Among the top scorers, he has the third highest goal to game ratio. Four Bundesliga titles and four DFB-Pokals are some of his club honors. In 1972, he was the UEFA European Championship Top Scorer and got into the UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament.
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